Better Business Bureau: Outrages by debt collectors

Nov. 5, 2011 at 6:05 a.m.

By Alan Bligh

In tough economic times, with many people out of work and struggling to pay their bills, it's no surprise that debt collectors are out in force. But recently, the Federal Trade Commission moved to shut down a California-based operator that handled collections nationally. The case involves a company operating from Van Nuys, Calif., under various names, including Forensic Case Management Services and Rumson, Bolling and Associates. The companies hired themselves out to small businesses on a contingency basis. In other words, it charged no fee unless it was successful in collecting on a debt. (Its slogan was "no recovery, no fee"). The FTC's commission's complaint offers a jaw-dropping example. The callers attempted to collect from a woman who was unable to pay the balance due for her daughter's funeral. "During the calls, Rumson, Bolling and Associates told her they were going to dig her daughter up and hang her from a tree if she did not pay the debt," the complaint says. Callers also threatened to eat her dog and even to kill her if she didn't pay. This is one of the worst such scenarios I can remember.

A new email phishing scam hit consumers across the country last week. The fake emails appear to be from StubHub and use the site's name to trick victims into providing personal information. The real StubHub allows users to buy and sell tickets to sporting and entertainment events. The fake email claims a large purchase is pending on the victim's StubHub account, usually involving boxing tickets in Nevada. It goes on to tell the victim that he or she needs to log on to the site using an attached link to cancel the order. The link takes the victim to a duped site designed to steal username and password information. Once the victim tries to log on, the scammer has access to all of his or her account information.

According to Facebook, members log in to the social media site billions of times a day. And "only 0.06 percent" of those log-ins are compromised - connections made by hackers armed with stolen member account information. A senior technology consultant with security software maker Sophos, took a closer look at the numbers reported by Facebook. They say the calculations, 0.06 percent of a billion log-ins, results in 600,000 compromised Facebook sign-ons per day. Or, more telling: One hacked Facebook account is being logged in attempting to connect to the social media website every 140 milliseconds. That's literally faster than the blink of an eye. So be careful and setup up your security preferences.

As the unemployment rate hovers around 9 percent, one Carrollton-based company claims to empower women to become successful business owners. However, the BBB warns that To The Nines has failed to provide job seekers with a viable home business. In January, To The Nines and its parent company, Iamaa Direct, began recruiting entrepreneurial hopefuls into a multi-level marketing business opportunity which involved the direct selling of designer shoes. However, since September, the BBB has received 34 complaints alleging the companies charged individuals up to $5,000 in business opportunity fees and failed to deliver any shoes. Both businesses have a BBB Rating of F due to failure to respond to complaints.

Alan Bligh is the executive director of the Better Business Bureau in Corpus Christi. Contact him by email at



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